Winners' Circle: Iman Alkhateeb

November 13, 2020

Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Iman Alkhateeb!

What is the title of your book?

Translated as: Journey on a Train

Give us a short summary of your book.

Ammar goes on a train journey. Next to him sits a farmer with some colorful birds. As Ammar comes closer for a better view, the train shakes, Ammar accidentally falls on the cage, the door opens, one of the birds flies away out of fear. There is commotion, but Ammar takes charge and helps the bird go back to his loving family. The book is written in rhyming Arabic.

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.

I keep a Word file for my ideas. Sometime these ideas develop into stories on the spot, then they take time to polish. At other times, I keep them for a later time as an idea bank. This particular story, as I was going through my idea bank, I opened “a trip to the bank with dad”, but somehow I started to write a completely different story. The words and flow of ideas just kept pouring on the page in front of me. It was but a year later that I came across an illustrator on Instagram and felt his work would be the best match for it. I went back to it and in one month (having to stay at home) I was able to revise finish and submit to my publisher (with whom I published my last 11 picture books). All in all, I have published over 40 picture books so far. Thanks to ICL’s writing courses. They gave me the keys and confidence I needed.

How long have you been writing?

Over 10 years.

What's your favorite genre to write?
Picture books

What ICL courses have your taken?
Writing for Children and Teenagers Course

Writing and Selling Children’s Books

Have any of your class assignments been published?

Yes, in Arabic.
Osama in the Toy Store

Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?

- Keep writing even if you can’t finish a piece. Who knows, maybe one day!
- It helps to have a circle of writing friends. But don’t show the work until it’s almost done.
- Sometimes, when you feel like writing, but out of ideas, go alone for a walk. If your home is far, make sure to record the ideas before they slip. Then go straight to your computer and start to write.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?

I waited too long to take the writing courses. For dreams to become reality, you have to wake up and start to do something.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.

- Show don’t tell.
- Let the reader live the dream of the main character.
- The rule of 3.
- The path creates growth for the main character.
- No direct preaching.

Where do your ideas come from?
Every story has a story. But gets fictionalized in the making of the story.


Iman Alkhateeb is a retired university lecturer. Over the last 12 year, Iman has published over 40 Arabic picture books. She has seven children and 11 grandchildren.

To start your own path to the Winners' Circle, show us a sample of work and let us help you become the writer you want to be. Click here.

Add Comment

Sign up for our weekly tips & market leads. 

If you write for children, sign up for our ICL newsletter.

Writing for adults? Sign up for the IFW newsletter.